Telogis have introduced their newest upgrade to their cloud-based fleet management and field service platform "Telogis Fleet 11"
AUTHOR ARCHIVES: Kris Oldland
About the Author:
Kris Oldland has been working in Business to Business Publishing for almost a decade. As a journalist he has covered a diverse range of industries from Fire Juggling through to Terrorism Insurance. Prior to this he was a Quality Services Manager with a globally recognised hospitality brand. An intimate understanding of what is important when it comes to Service and a passion for emerging technology means that in Field Service he has found an industry that excites him everyday.
Telogis have introduced their newest upgrade to their cloud-based fleet management and field service platform "Telogis Fleet 11"
Described by the software company as a major upgrade that will ‘effectively transform the way business is done outside the four walls’. Telogis Fleet 11 will allow companies to move toward achieving significant gains in operational efficiency by offering easier access for its users to both analysing and then utilising data gathered from workers, vehicles and assets in the field.
Included within the Telogis Fleet 11 platform are dynamic routing, commercial-grade navigation, advanced telematics, real-time work order management and mobile applications for companies with significant numbers of mobile workers.
Connected location intelligence drives significant gains in productivity
Whether companies require actionable information from their vehicles, assets, customers, workers, partners or all of the above, Telogis Fleet 11 enables connectivity between what is happening in the field and the back office. Telogis Fleet 11 features mobile application enhancements and new maps that are optimised for mobile devices, allowing supervisors and operations leads to easily visualise vehicles, assets and workers. Fleet 11 also supports Telogis Live 2.0, the industry’s first location and data sharing tool that connects partners’ and contractors’ workers and assets on one screen so that project information can be shared among multiple users to maximize productivity and operational efficiencies.
Telogis Fleet 11 also delivers support for richer engine data and services derived from existing relationships with the top vehicle manufacturers such as Ford, Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks and others, enabling more advanced levels of alerting and reporting.
“The trifecta of connected location intelligence, understanding what’s happening with drivers behind the wheel and the ability to derive actionable analytics from that data is really what drives business transformation for our customers,” said Mark Wallin, vice president, product management at Telogis. “Telogis Fleet 11 raises the bar by turning data into true business intelligence, helping companies make more informed decisions that make their businesses run smarter.”
Connecting with the driver: the key to safety, fuel and compliance improvements
Telogis Fleet 11 also closes the loop with drivers through the integration of Telogis Coach, the industry’s first mobile application to give both drivers and back offices the same view of a driver behavior scorecard. Using Telogis Coach drivers review their own behaviors and understand their successes and opportunities for improvement. They also receive peer leaderboards, a snapshot of the day’s driving behaviors and tips for driving more responsibly and safely.
Fleet 11 also helps drivers meet the latest compliance mandates for Hours of Service (HOS) and Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) by providing simple, seamless integration between Telogis mobile compliance applications and the back office.
Actionable analytics that drive mission-critical business changes
The actionable analytics that are derived from connecting to and understanding how teams and vehicles are performing in the field is facilitated by Fleet 11’s enhanced alerts, dashboards and reports that include visual analytic tools and dashboards, scripted alerts for even more flexibility, the Enterprise key performance indicator (KPI) Scorecard and reports in hundreds of configurable formats to fit any business or fleet size.
Established in 1984, Adlib Audio is one of the most well-known and well respected names in the live performance industry. Across rental and installation divisions, the portfolio of Adlib clients includes Radiohead , David Guetta,...
Established in 1984, Adlib Audio is one of the most well-known and well respected names in the live performance industry. Across rental and installation divisions, the portfolio of Adlib clients includes Radiohead , David Guetta, Skrillex , Toby Keith, Ellie Goulding, The Script, Glastonbury, V-Festival, Professor Green, Swedish House Mafia, Bring Me The Horizon, The Overtones , John Barrowman and The Specials.
Due to the stature of these events and touring artistes it is imperative that Adlib Audio capitalises on the latest technology to ensure reliability, quality of service and performance.
As acknowledged leaders in performance and production, Adlib Audio demands a comprehensive system to manage and control multi-million pound PA systems in a variety of conditions; indoors from an intimate stage to a complete theatre or large scale venue and outdoors, in all weathers from a beach in Ibiza, to a rain-soaked British festival.
To this end, Adlib Audio has designed a bespoke Windows 7 disk image which simplifies management of multiple computers and enables all machines to be easily upgraded to the same standard or reset to Adlib’s factory settings complete with the full suite of live software.
From a hardware perspective, this demands not only extensive ruggedisation but an ease of use and Windows integration in which Adlib Audio can have full confidence. As a result, Adlib Audio turned to RUGGED MOBILE Systems who recommended the Motion Computing J3500 Tablet PC. As the primary control interface for the system, the J3500 is now at the heart of many Adlib-produced performances.
With such high demands on performance, Adlib Audio developed a very clear, specific protocol for the implementation of the technology. Tim Robinson, IT Administrator, Adlib Audio explains: “When the tablets first arrived, we quarantined them all until one had been fully configured as a template machine and approved by all concerned.”
“This ‘image’ was then rolled out across the others so that they all matched perfectly. This whole process took about three days, but that included learning how to do it in the first place. By the time I did the sixth one, I had the time from unboxing to ready-to-use down to 14 minutes.”
Many features of the J3500 were attractive to Adlib Audio. Tour Sound Specialist, Tony Szabo said: “For us, the tablet had to run Windows because our software depends on it. We then looked at features such as the pen-based input for making fine adjustments; the option to defeat any finger-based input to avoid any accidental or malicious adjustment to the system; the 5GHz Wi-Fi to avoid interference with the majority of consumer devices and the RJ45 port in case Wi-Fi proves to be unreliable - in a live situation we prize reliability beyond all else.”
In addition the industry-leading ruggedisation and sealed design of the J3500, alongside the extra protection and portability afforded by the Motion Bump Case, means Adlib Audio can take the tablets out on the road, into the field or on the beach with full confidence that they will perform.
Compared to the older tablets and legacy hardware that began to suffer hardware failures and were no longer available, the J3500 has given Adlib a contemporary hardware platform that combines quality and reliability. Dave Kay, Technical Director, concludes:
“So far, the J3500 has not missed a beat. Financially we make a saving by not having to repair them, but, in truth, the real ROI is within the operational realm.”
“When you have chart-topping acts on stage, relying on your people and a technology to perform in front of thousands, there is real value in the confidence that the J3500 delivers.”
“Looking forward, we are only barely scratching the surface of what the tablets can do. We expect within the next twelve months or so, for another of our larger systems to introduce a new processing and control system, at which time this too will be controlled from the Motion J3500.”
Ian Davies, UK country manager, Motion Computing adds:
“Behind the incredible performances of top artists is a small army of engineers and they demand the best kit that will not let them down despite challenging environments and dynamic requirements. This requires an uncompromising attitude towards performance, reliability and usability and that is exactly what we seek to deliver with the J3500.”
Who are Watling Hope?
Watling Hope are market leaders in the field of wastewater engineering services and are seen as such not only because they are national specialists but also because they demonstrate a keen desire to innovate when it comes...
Who are Watling Hope?
Watling Hope are market leaders in the field of wastewater engineering services and are seen as such not only because they are national specialists but also because they demonstrate a keen desire to innovate when it comes to service delivery. They pride themselves on operating with flexibility and having a truly 'customer-first' attitude. How have they achieved this?
“We've made the service department the business, moving it from an after-sales function to the front end of the customer relationship,” says Edward Palin, managing director of Watling Hope.
In fact, Watling Hope’s development into service leaders in their field has not been a straight line. They have grown into a service business from originally being a ground works company. That is, they were a company which made its revenue from installing pumping stations and mechanical drainage devices but made the transition as they realised the commercial sense in also maintaining those devices, before taking the leap to maintaining devices that other people had installed as well.
Such a change in company emphasis has seen Watling Hope expand from 50 contracts 20 years ago to around 2,500 contracts today. “We provided a unique professional approach in what wasn’t a customer service orientated industry,” says Palin.
“Before us it was guys in overalls handing over dirty bits of paper. “Watling Hope’s unique attraction was a service company which put together usable reports and relationships which effectively looked after the customers’ interests from a commercial perspective, as opposed to on a job by job basis."
Ongoing Service Innovation
Like any good service business, Watling Hope are restless innovators, always looking to evolve better ways of delivering.
The latest stage of this evolution involved 18 months sizing up service solutions options, saying goodbye to the previous ERP platform in the process. When the step was made they went with Tesseract Service Centre, and got their mobile engineering team online with Motorola’s ES400 PDAs, although not simultaneously.
“I remember at the time saying to Tesseract that when we get the new system we want to recognise the benefits straight away,” says Palin.
“They wisely advised us we need our office to understand the system first, because you don’t want 25 engineers phoning up and asking how it works when the people in the office don’t understand it yet. That phased implementation has worked really well for us.”
A phased approach was also applied to the eventual hardware rollout, with two engineers in the team given the ES400s to play with. This approach seems to have negated the expected resistance.
“The other engineers started saying ‘when am I getting my PDA?’” says Palin.
Having an engineering team clamouring for new gear is not a common story; Watling Hope might be on to something with the drip feed of hardware solutions. It has revitalised the mobile team’s approach to work; it represents a feeling of being invested in.
Regardless of industry, service organisations all have a similar set of needs. This played a large part in the process to ditch the ERP solution and side with Tesseract.
“They had 20 years working in service, as opposed to an ERP solution which just adapted to fit service,” says Palin.
“We wanted a service solution for a service organisation.”
“If a pumping station goes down it is business critical, people don’t think about that. If you take a restaurant or a hotel, you can turn the water off and the customers would probably stay there. If they can’t use the drainage, the toilets, you’d have to close the business. So being able to respond quickly and being able to keep the customer informed is a crucial feature of what we do.”
Assessing the Service Process
Implementing a new system also gave Watling Hope the chance to reassess other areas of the way they worked.
The previous ERP system contained a legacy of site specific comments, meaning the information needed could only be found by trawling through pages of comments. Instead of dumping this data into the Service Centre, engineers were encouraged to re-inform head office of specific details, which would be entered in useful, context specific spaces.
The new system also encouraged a shift in the way regional teams are organised.
“We have quarterly meetings where we all get together,” says Palin. “For a national business it’s a huge environmental consideration for everyone to drive here. As we reorganised into areas with the roll out of the new system, we are now having area meetings; so management and operations will drive to meet the teams instead.”
Communication has always been a key factor to the mobile engineering teams, with free calls between business mobiles encouraging knowledge sharing. In addition the area meetings impart company updates, but also might feature a supplier who will give a presentation on changes to a product. It also forms itself into something of a training road show, imparting customer service and technical training. Each session finishes on a forum to give engineers a voice, encouraging a friendly peer to peer atmosphere.
Watling Hope have fought hard to develop a professional service offering, and don’t seem to have any plans to stop their progression.
What does the future hold?
“Continued growth and consolidation of customers,” concludes Palin. “We’re hoping to provide a more diverse range of services.”
When Juniper first rolled out their latest rugged handheld computer the Archer 2 it has gathered some sizeable attention and traction within the market place. One facet, which makes the device particularly stand out, is the exceptionally bright...
When Juniper first rolled out their latest rugged handheld computer the Archer 2 it has gathered some sizeable attention and traction within the market place. One facet, which makes the device particularly stand out, is the exceptionally bright and clear illumiView display.
According to research undertaken by Juniper Systems themselves one of the most requested customer needs was a high quality display that was easily readable in direct sunlight.
To meet this need Juniper made some significant changes to their previous products starting with a global search to find the best display unit and manufacturer to meet their needs. However, a great display unit is only half of the battle, implementation is also paramount. A poor implementation of a fantastic display will still result in a poor final product, with a dim screen.
So in order to maximize the display’s potential Juniper actually made the other following changes to their previous display units in the Archer and other models, in order to deliver a best-in-class product.
Firstly they made the switch from resistive to capacitive touchscreens. Now whilst they aren’t the first rugged manufacturer to make this change it is an important one as capacitive screens have fewer layers between them which results in less light refraction. Of course less light refraction means better luminosity and clarity, in fact capacitive screens are generally 20% brighter than resistive screens.
Secondly they introduced something called optical bonding to the manufacturing process of the unit. This is a special means of fusing the display with the touchscreen itself. So unlike most other rugged devices where there is a layer of air between the touchscreen and the display, in the Archer 2 this gap, which allows for light refraction (thedreby also reducing brightness and clarity) is removed.
“We are extremely pleased with how the new Archer 2’s IllumiView display has turned out; competitor products don’t even come close,” said Josh Egan, Product Manager at Juniper Systems. “We have put in a lot of extra effort and used additional resources to design the best display possible, and we feel that it has all paid off. Knowing that our customers will greatly benefit from this new display makes it all worth it.”
The Archer 2 is the lastest rugged handheld in Juniper Systems’ line-up. It can be used for a wide variety of data collection purposes including geomatics, natural resources, public works, agriculture, industrial, and military markets.
Specialist building services maintenance group Statutory Support Services (UK) (SSS) has selected mplsystems’ cloud based end-to-end service management solution as part of an overhaul of their current system. Their existing solution, the previous...
Specialist building services maintenance group Statutory Support Services (UK) (SSS) has selected mplsystems’ cloud based end-to-end service management solution as part of an overhaul of their current system. Their existing solution, the previous generation of the Maximo system was replaced after the group found it to be overly complex for their needs.
The system that replaces it, mplsystems’ iMobile offers both dynamic drag-and-drop and automated scheduling of SSS’s field engineers, while a comprehensive service desk portal and integrated mobile apps for their field personnel should see significant improvements in both productivity and efficiency. As the system provides a true, real-time view of all current maintenance activities across the group, the results should also be tangible from day one.
Within their sector, SSS work with a number of leading organisations including Hill Woodhouse, Lambert and Smith Hampton.
Adam Clarke, Managing Director at SSS commented
“We previously worked with a legacy Maximo scheduling system that proved both over-complex and inflexible, so we were keen to move towards a more comprehensive, end-to-end service management solution that would allow us to deliver more dynamic and efficient scheduling, especially for reactive job requests”
“We looked at a number of alternatives, but only mplsystems - with its cloud-based iMobile solution - could give us the end-to-end solution and the visibility we needed across our entire maintenance services operation.”
Clarke further expanded on this by adding:
“Now with our new mplsystems solution in place we’re able to manage our entire field service operation using a dedicated service desk portal, giving us real-time visibility of all our activities and providing much greater integration of our employees in the field,”
“We have also been able to incorporate additional functionality that, for example, allows our field engineers to quote immediately for any further work that customers might need – improving our responsiveness and unlocking potential new business opportunities.” He concluded.
A clear advantage of establishing a single view of all field activities is that it will enable SSS to make healthy savings by optimising schedules for both planned preventive maintenance and also reactive service requests. Thanks to increased SLA adherence, the ability to respond effectively to reactive jobs and dynamic schedule optimisation, SSS expects its new mplsystems field service management solution to pay for itself within just six months.
Where mplsystems’ new end-to-end solution contrasts with traditional service scheduling tools is that some solutions are often deemed to be perhaps to complex with multiple menus, options, parameters and screens, for the needs of the dispatchers of field service managers implementing and using them on a daily basis.
The mplsystems solution therefore has a more simplified, and modern look and feel. It features three core drag-and-drop presentation options that enable schedule optimisation: a dynamic map view that streamlines the scheduling and allocation of tasks, a field service engineer’s calendar view showing all jobs and locations, and a complete list of jobs that can be filtered using a range of parameters.
These three views can be toggled separately or displayed concurrently on a single screen. When the service desk receives a call, helpdesk staff simply drag and drop the task onto the appropriate field engineer’s schedule. This action updates diaries and transfers all relevant task information to the engineer’s mobile Android, iOS or Windows Mobile device.
Paul White, Field Service News columnist and CEO of mplsystems’ commented
“We’re delighted that Statutory Support Services has chosen our cloud-based iMobile solution as a platform for their truly integrated service management solution,”
“Combining our portal, cloud IT platform, automated and dynamic drag-and-drop scheduling and comprehensive mobile field service integration, our end-to-end solution is set to unlock the significant efficiency and productivity savings that come from a truly joined-up approach to field service management.”
With iMobile, mplsystems has brought a powerful suite of cloud-based end-to-end field service management solutions to the market with a wide and impressive range of functionality companies like SSS need to support their range of operations. Key functionality includes a unified service desk portal; the automatic and dynamic planning and scheduling of service activities within defined SLA adherence guidelines; supporting mobile personnel through dedicated apps for in-field data collection and route optimisation; as well as comprehensive analytics and SLA reporting.
There is nothing quite like a good nights sleep. So it is especially good news to find out that one purveyor of such wonders (i.e. a bed and mattress retail company) has been able to step up their deliveries by using dedicated fleet management...
There is nothing quite like a good nights sleep. So it is especially good news to find out that one purveyor of such wonders (i.e. a bed and mattress retail company) has been able to step up their deliveries by using dedicated fleet management technology.
Bed experts, Dreams has been able to increase it’s efficiency of its home deliveries by turning to Paragon’s Home delivery system (HDS) as part of their fleet management technology solution. This means that all 6,000 weekly nationwide weekly deliveries will be planned and scheduled for the Dreams head office. The system will allow for the customer to be provided with a selection of optimised dates so they can choose one which suits them for their delivery. This is available to them either at the point of sale in store or when they make a purchase online.
“When a Dreams customer buys a bed our Microsoft Dynamics NAV system will calculate the earliest availability for the product. This information feeds through to Paragon HDS, which then works out the available delivery dates to offer the customer. The information is presented graphically to our sales staff in red, amber and green, with green being the most efficient delivery,” says Ian Clarke, Change Controller, Dreams.
“We offer customers the ability to book a delivery up to 90 days in advance if they require it; typically most choose between 10 and 15 days after making a purchase. We also have much more flexibility to move deliveries around if we need to and we can close off routes earlier. In fact, with the latest version of the software we can also shut off a depot early and we can pause specific routes, if necessary to maximise efficiency.”
Dreams currently operates eight home delivery depots, which aided by a fleet management technology suite from Paragon, enables them to cover the entire of the UK and they plan to open a ninth depot soon which will be based in Scotland and will add further efficiency to their routes with its ninth depot opening soon. The deliveries are made using the company’s fleet of 100 x 3.5 tonne Mercedes Sprinter vans.
“Paragon HDS completely eliminates all manual elements from our delivery planning. It gives us much tighter control of how many vans we need and the number of driver shifts required to achieve the plan. Together with our stock availability system, we have a much clearer view of our supply chain as we can plan when goods need to be in the depots and we’re now running some as stockless, having just the items they need to deliver within the next 48 hours,” says Ian Clarke.
Perhaps the key benefit of HDS is the automatic integration with the other elements of the fleet management technology that Paragon are already delivering to Dreams including GPS vehicle tracking units in the vans using Paragon Fleet Controller. Giving Dreams the ability to monitor delivery progress in real-time and providing them with a live report feed. This feed is then published on the Dreams intranet to show how deliveries are progressing and allows customer services to keep customers updated with ETAs.
This visibility includes being able to see the exact current status of each delivery and report whether the van is at the customer’s home or has completed the delivery and is on its way to the next drop.
This of course means that the field service management team can sleep well at night knowing they are running as efficiently as possible!
Looking to find out more about fleet management technology or looking for a fleet management technology provider? Visit our directory which includes videos, case studies and other resources on a number of fleet management technology companies by clicking this link.
Road Traffic Solutions, a traffic management organisation who supported the management of the roads throughout the London Olympics and the Royal Wedding have been able to save thousands of pounds in administration costs having switched to a new...
Road Traffic Solutions, a traffic management organisation who supported the management of the roads throughout the London Olympics and the Royal Wedding have been able to save thousands of pounds in administration costs having switched to a new paperless means of working.
The company who moved onto the MyMobileWorkers‘ system in October have already seen significant savings not only by reducing the amount of time spent on administration but also by cutting out a whopping 1.2 tonnes of paper. To put that into context as well as being great for the environment it equates to a real world saving of almost £12,000 in the five months since they adopted the workforce management app.
RTS staff carry out around 18,000 jobs a year from minor street works in city centres to motorway closures and diversions. The 50 workers now complete job information on the go, which dramatically reduced the administrative burden that RTS had whilst previously logging this information on paper.
The field staff use the MyMobileWorkers app to record information such as proving which items are with which worker at a specific time, details of where the items are being delivered to, and specifically where on the road they are due to be placed,
This has given RTS instant visibility with photographic evidence, of their workflow as opposed to having to wait until the worker has returned to the office and the job being logged as completed which was the process previously.
As well as delivering cost savings the switch has also provided RTS with improved location and management of their own hire equipment. The result of this is that staff can now search and view instantly which items are in use on which job, allowing them to see which items are missing and at what stage of the job.
Of course as with any field service technology RTS have been able to importantly translate the benefits to their customers also who now have instant access to job details and photographic proof of job completion.
Ben Dexter, Associate Director from RTS said: “Previously we were having a complete nightmare with masses of paperwork and as a company which is growing rapidly, we were looking for a new way of working to ensure our processes were as efficient and streamlined as they could be.
“With all new technology, there can be a degree of uncertainty amongst the workforce as to how it works but MyMobileWorkers was simple to use and within a month, all of our 50 workers were up and running, and using it on their Android devices.”
Graham Whistance, founder of MyMobileWorkers, said: “As Road Traffic Solutions is one of the fastest growing companies in the traffic management sector, they needed the technology alongside this to help them grow further.
“MyMobileWorkers works particularly well in the fast paced environment of the traffic management sector where managers rely on real time updates and the need for accurate job information to be recorded. With Road Traffic Solutions for example, they need to ensure that any of their equipment such as temporary traffic signals or cones, are accounted for when being picked up after a job is finished.”
Driver safety has rightly become one of the key considerations for field service managers and fleet managers alike in recent years. It has also become a major inclusion in both software and hardware manufacturers list of product benefits and...
Driver safety has rightly become one of the key considerations for field service managers and fleet managers alike in recent years. It has also become a major inclusion in both software and hardware manufacturers list of product benefits and should be a one of the major boxes you want ticked when you are looking for a solution for your field service staff.
So it was little surprise that Motion Computing made the move to launch a comprehensive In-Vehicle solution as part of their range. This includes a range of docks, mounts, integrated features and computing accessories designed to work with Motion’s own specialized Tablet PC’s with claims of delivering maximum safety, reliable connectivity and increased productivity for your field service team whilst they are on the road.
Motion’s vice president, marketing at Motion Peter Poulin commented on the alaunch of the range saying:
“Over the past 12 years, we’ve helped optimize the performance of mobile workers through purpose-built, rugged tablet PCs, tailored accessories and services”
“We developed our In-Vehicle Computing Solutions for the growing number of mobile workers who rely on tablets inside their vehicles. As with all our solutions – the In-Vehicle Solution is designed to be flexible enough to enhance multiple workflows. It is also durable enough to meet both the safety and quality standards demanded by fleet managers at water utilities and other field service organizations.”
Amongst the several safety enhancing features included are built-in sensors that limit the use of computer displays while the vehicle is moving and an administration tool that allows the fleet manager to configure what applications are accessible to the driver.
For those vehicles that have a driver-passenger set up there is an optional “swingaway” solution that provides full access to the computing device for the passenger even when the vehicle is moving.
The entire range of Motion’s In-Vehicle solutions is based around their patented “Tilt&Rotate” mount, which is specifically designed with economy of space in mind. The mount is able to accommodate Motion’s low profile F5t and CL910 Tablet PCs and provides a strong balance between flexibility and user comfort with a wide range of adjustment angles available.
No matter which industry you are involved in, it is almost certain that at the very forefront of your business strategy is the goal to guarantee the very best levels of customer satisfaction.
No matter which industry you are involved in, it is almost certain that at the very forefront of your business strategy is the goal to guarantee the very best levels of customer satisfaction.
It absolutely needs to be as in todays climate, where access to a huge array of information about you and your competitors is readily available, customer satisfaction plays an enormous role in the way consumers choose which companies get their business.
For customers requiring after sales service, more often than not the first port of call is of course a contact centre. Here, the initial call is logged and whenever possible, resolved.
But do service calls really provide customer satisfaction? What happens when the problem is not rectified within the agreed time or if the service supply chain is too disjointed to efficiently resolve the problem? What impact can this have on your customers overall satisfaction with your company's ability to deliver the product or service they expect?
Successful customer interaction is vital
Carolyn Wilson, services director of technology support specialist Centrex Services, believes the contact centre process is becoming both outdated and ineffective for today’s technology support.
“It is clear that the role of the contact centre within the service supply chain has evolved rapidly; moving from simply offering support to becoming the driving force behind customer satisfaction. There must be control over the entire journey of the repair, not just an automated process to raise a service ticket. Service companies are now at the forefront of customer service, this unrequited lip-service is no longer just an afterthought.” she comments
She is certainly not alone in this view either. In fact a recent study by the Aberdeen Group showed that an incredible 96% of businesses viewed improving customer service results as their primary goal.
Carolyn explains further, “There are two major factors which directly affect the success of customer interactions, namely triage (problem identification) and the ability of the control team to resolve any issues as efficiently as possible.
“Equipping the staff to intelligently diagnose hardware problems over the phone and enabling them to take responsibility for the entire service process results in a huge increase in satisfaction levels, as invariably customers are contacting businesses to gain resolution as quickly as possible.”
This begins with the control representative understanding not only the nature of the call, but being able to identify where the part is located and accurately outline when a correctly skilled engineer can be sent to remedy the problem. In short, they need complete visibility of the service supply chain.
An inefficient control centre, can have a knock on effect across the whole of the service supply chain and will always result ultimately in dissatisfied customers.
An alarming statistic uncovered recently by The Service Council was that less than ten percent of field engineers dispatched had the part required to fix the hardware. Clear evidence of a disjointed, fragmented and simply inefficient service supply chain. Instead, businesses favoured a system where engineers operate in territories and will therefore immediately be called out if the customer’s address falls within their patch; regardless of the parts they have to hand, or the personal skill-sets at their disposal.
Addressing this issue Carolyn added, “If a customer’s problem revolves around a part being sourced and fitted by an engineer, for the traditional contact centre to dispatch an engineer closer to the customer because it is more convenient, is unacceptable. This just shows it’s vital that changes are made to the way businesses view their own contact centres and move to adopt better control throughout the process.”
Why accept failure in your service supply chain?
Technology is evolving every year, indeed at an often bewildering rate. So it comes as a huge surprise and disappointment to learn that the vast majority of organisation are failing to apply the available and required layers of intelligence and responsibility to their contact centres. Layers which can provide the level of insight into the service supply chain that is so badly needed. Instead, we see that outsourcing this process remains a highly popular solution, even though as Carolyn points out, this is an ineffective method that is all too often cited as being the major factor in why poor service is being delivered.
“When contact centres are outsourced, businesses always run the risk of providing a service where staff processing customer calls have little knowledge related to the logistics of the service supply chain. Unsurprisingly, triage is inefficient and service level agreements (SLA) are often missed.
“I remain astonished that businesses continue to offer contracts which allow for a certain level of failure when it comes to meeting SLA’s, which is often the bar used to measure customer satisfaction.
“The current systems in place across the after sales service supply chain are not fit for purpose and the time for change is upon us. There will of course be resistance from those who believe the traditionalist approach works, but accepting failure is intolerable and should not be accepted by business leaders or their customers.” she concludes.
Centrex, who have redesigned their service processes, began with increasing responsibility within its ‘control’ centre to create a service which is both valuable to the company while offering best practice to the consumer. It put's the 'control' centre at the heart of the service supply chain not a distant cousin looking on from afar. It is a sensible yet breathtakingly simple concept that hopefully others may follow.
Look out for the second part of this feature where we look at why bringing all elements of the service supply chain , including customer support centres, all under one roof is an essential aspect of the Centrex philosophy.